I’ve never been the kind of girl who is naturally thin. I can’t maintain a healthy weight by doing yoga four days a week, and I certainly can’t binge eat french fries as often as I’d like. The second I taper off from consistent exercise is the second I start to go soft. If I want to avoid a squishy mid-section, I have to work for it (5-6 days a week). It’s that high-intensity, heart-pounding kinda cardio that my body thrives off of. And it’s annoying.
I’ve always envied the women who can do the occasional pilates or soul cycle followed by an overindulgent brunch, and still look banging in a bikini. To be honest, I can’t even use the elliptical. It’s not enough. I am constantly running, or swimming laps, on top of a 60-minute kick-boxing or circuit training bootcamp class just to stay average. Regardless of how hard I train, I’ll always have wide hips, broad shoulders and a round butt. But that’s just me.
Over time, I’ve learned to accept this.
I’ve been on both ends of the spectrum. My sophomore year of college I had a serious thigh-gap and flat stomach to the point that some of my sorority sisters thought that I was anorexic (I wasn’t), and by my senior year I looked like I had a real addiction to Big Macs and McFlurries (it was actually Taco Bell and booze). While my weight can fluctuate a lot, I look and feel my healthiest when I’m committed to cardio and eating clean. Despite the number on the scale and regardless of how I measure up to the stick-thin Instagram models, that’s when I feel the most confident.
Instagram is such a bittersweet place. One minute you can feel inspired by a health or fitness account, and the next you’re comparing yourself to a skinny gal on your favorite bikini brand’s feed (hating life). I take a lot of pride in being a confident person, but like anyone I have days where I think my gut is too pouchy, my thighs are too big, my teeth are too yellow and my hair is too flat. I’m human. We are our own worst critics, and it takes a lot of self-love and acceptance to get to a head space where you can feel comfortable in your own skin.
While I can understand that confidence doesn’t always come easy, it’s important to look in the mirror and feel good about what you see. If you’re having an off day, try to find one positive while you’re getting ready. Regardless of whether that’s a good hair day, a new eyeshadow that brings out the color in your eyes, or a dress that compliments your figure— find something good that’s unique to you. Change the narrative that says you’re only pretty if you’re a size zero.
Everyone is beautiful in their own way, but sometimes it’s hard to see that beauty through our own ugly thoughts. If we can change the way we see ourselves, it allows others to see us in a new light, too.